Friday, October 31, 2014

Text Me When You Die

My fourth-grade son recently did a school report on the Wright Brothers, the two who created the first airplane.  I went with my son to an air and space museum and marveled at what they had accomplished not much more than 100 years ago.  Did they know their invention would be the precursor for space exploration and the preferred method of worldwide travel?  Did they know their invention would be used in wars and in such a decisive way?

All things can be used for a good or bad purpose.  Taken to their limits, they can even become something else.  Were printing presses, when first created, thought of as being able to print only good things, or did people realize that any kind of book can and will be published?

Today we have social media technology that is taking us in all kinds of directions, changing, challenging, improving, questioning, and assisting the life process.  These devices can transform how we see and experience life – and influence our behaviors.  There is a reward – and price – to any of this.  Will humans evolve with technology – or will machines evolve faster?

When I was a kid growing up I was told the robots would take over.  Today, they already have taken over, but instead of a life-sized machine soldiering against us, we are literally pushing the buttons of the devices that could save us – or imprison us.

I know one thing, we spend a lot of time with communication devices but our communication has gotten worse.  We have gone from texting and emailing instead of calling and from calling instead of visiting in person.  Two people can be on their gadgets, side by side or at a table, but they’re not really engaging each other.

I have friends who think I should watch their Facebook postings to learn what’s going on with them, as if they’re too burdened to call me and share the old-fashioned way.

I am just as guilty.  I wanted to surprise my wife with a Valentine’s Day present by giving it to her in October – a pair of theatre tickets.  But I emailed this to her, rather than giving it to her in person.

She got upset of my delivery means.

A week later one of her relatives was diagnosed with cancer.  I asked if she called to talk to her and she said she’d send her a text.

Even when one’s life is on the line, we’re not moved to have a direct conversation about it.

One day we’ll have virtual funerals, where people don’t even gather to pay their respects.  Instead of being face to face with the grieving, we can each be in our own homes, connected by email.  We can meet up in a Twitter chat or stream on Facebook.

Any time we need to communicate with people that we have to reach by don’t want to talk to, we send emails.  It’s what leaving a voicemail or mailing a physical letter used to do for us.  But now we use tech talk to communicate anything, even good news or happy moments.

Maybe we need to rethink how we use all of the technology we have at our hands.  It should enhance or supplement – not replace – human contact.  We should make sure that we, as humans, don’t become more robotic, but rather, we should humanize the devices and where possible, communicate without them.

One day you won’t just email a funeral – you’ll send a text to others that you died.  It’ll go to the devices of these people and the devices will send automated responses.  In turn, automated responses will be sent to answer such responses.  

The more we act like robots, the less human we become.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Could You Pen 1,667 Words A Day For 30 Straight Days?

Such is the challenge some writers will undergo in November.

A new survey was launched to discover why writers procrastinate. It was conducted by a productivity app, Stop Procrastinating (, designed to help writers write 50,000 words in one month. How? By combining psychology with technology.
According to Stop Procrastinating, a survey of 1500 US writers has discovered what is most likely to distract them from writing their novel.  

They said in a press release:

“The survey has been launched before Nanowrimo – November writing month – to help inspire hundreds of thousands of Americans who are preparing to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

“The survey undertaken for Stop Procrastinating, the productivity application, discovered a range of domestic and life issues that distracted the most creative amongst us from fulfilling their dreams and finishing their novel.

“Respondents to the survey said the following distracted them most from writing: sex; dating sites; tiredness; staying late at work; pizza and ice cream; their partner distracting them by offering them a drink, turning on the TV or chatting; pets jumping on their lap or turning off the computer; and a family argument. Digital distractions such as emails, social media and the internet were also most likely to prevent them from writing.

“Some respondents even claimed envy of the success of other writers stopped them having the motivation to continue writing.

“Broken down the survey still found that the internet was the biggest single distraction during the actual process of writing. 52% of writers claimed to have turned to browsing the internet for inspiration only to be lose hours reading articles or watching YouTube videos.

“Most interesting is what they were viewing. Most writers didn’t turn to the great works for inspiration, but were more likely to watch YouTube videos of comedy acts or cats and other animals doing funny things. 45% of those who said they were distracted by the internet from writing said they had watched a funny animal video at least once to help get them through a creative block; 15% said they were distracted by a dating site; another 5% said wouldn't admit to what they browsed.

“Yet 7% of respondents claimed real life animals posed a risk to undermining their writing achievements. Cats jumping on their owners lap for affection was the biggest culprit, while others claimed their dog had pulled the lead from the computer in the middle of crafting the perfect sentence.

“17% of people claimed they often ate their reward for finishing writing, such as pizza and ice cream, before they’d reached their writing goal for the day.

“14% said that their partner has distracted them by suggesting watching the next episode of a box set for a ‘creative break’, while others came into their room with a welcoming drink and chatted for more than half an hour before leaving. 4% of respondents has said that rather than get back to writing they had had sex with their partner. One admitted this was because she thought she was ovulating, the others said they just wanted to have sex.

“22% said that they were too tired to write either from work or partying too hard. While 32% said they often couldn’t write because they had stayed too late at work and didn’t have time.

“Will Little, creator of, said: “Nanowrimo is a great celebration of writing, but sometimes even with the best of intentions writers become distracted.

“The grip of creativity to write is tenuous, it seems, prone to slip in the face of the slightest distraction. The smallest gestures such as a warming cup of coffee from a partner, or a cat jumping up for a stroke, or the distant sound of their favourite TV programme starting can be all it takes to have the writer running from the computer and away from the creative urge,” he said.

“But often the distraction is staring them in the face. The writer’s tool, the computer, is part of an interconnected planet that exists, it seems, to distract and toy with our concentration. It can take only seconds from typing a lyrical sentence to answering an email or watching a funny animal video on YouTube, and the creative moment is lost,” he said.

“Sometimes all it takes is for the writer to set down their goals – how many words they want to write and how long it will take them. Goal setting is hard wired into our brains and when we set them we are more likely to achieve our objectives.

“But sometimes writers need that extra push - to turn off the internet completely or at least filter out social media or the most distracting websites. Barring the offer of a hot drink from their partner or the sound of padded feet, they should then be set up to create their masterpiece.”

Can you write 50,000 words in a month?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Apple, I Love You! I Hate You!

I have a hard time reconciling the opportunities and challenges brought by technology. On the one hand, technology greatly assists my day-to-day life, and on the other, it burdens me.

Case in point: iPhone 6.

My iPhone 4 was working perfectly well, but my two-year service contract with Verizon was up right around the time they said Apple was coming out with a new model. Normally I get the generation of phone that’s one behind the latest and greatest.  Why?  Because it’s less expensive and the bugs have been cleaned out of that model.

But this time around I skipped straight to the top – or near it.  I didn’t bother with the 5 or 5S and was able to get the 6 because of a special trade-in offer.  I was told I could get a six simply by handing in my four, which I think is strange – and not fully true anyway.  We’ll get to that soon.

The biggest problems I have with tech upgrades or switches are the following:

It takes time to shop, process, and install
It takes time to learn and troubleshoot
It ends up costing more money

You may say I have a choice, an option to opt-out of changing phones or even to opt-out of using all of the tech gadgets out there.  But if one doesn’t partake and keep relatively up-to-date on technology, he or she falls out of society and into the third world.  Technology is no longer an enhancement or the provider of a competitive edge, but to not have it, puts you at a significant disadvantage.

So my wife and I trade our phones to cash in on the deal.  We’ve never given our phones back, in part because they weren’t worth much and mainly because of a concern about the data not really being wiped clean from the phone.  But to get the iPhone 6 I put my identity theft fears and privacy violation concerns to the digital curb.  Apple, the government, FB, Google, Verizon, and Chinese hackers have all my information already.  My digital footprint publicly leaves many clues as well. I might as well get some money for the phone.

But free isn’t free.  Let’s start with the exchange of phones.  The 4’s are worth $200 each and the 6’s are selling for $200 each.  But on the exchange I ended up paying sales tax on $200.  They claim the $200 I get on each phone is a rebate but my purchase price gets taxed.  Why doesn’t Apple or Verizon pay sales tax to me on the phones I sell to them?

OK, so you got the tax.  We’re all good after that, right?  Well, no.  The iPhone 6 is larger than a 4, so we each need new cases.  And we need the screen protector thing.  There is also a $30 activation fee. And the chargers aren’t compatible, but they give us those.  Then, you need insurance or you can be out a lot of money.  See where this is all going?  Nothing’s free.

Now, once you get past the hours spent with Verizon and Apple to do the exchange and activation and transfer of data from one phone to the other, you need to learn new features and adjust to any deviations.  You have to reload certain things and spend more time looking up contacts because the email and text don’t recognize the email addresses until you start using them on the new phone.

Ok, ok, so after a few hundred dollars, time spent, and you are adjusted to the new phone, what’s next?

Your phone shatters.

Yes, this happened to my wife.  We picked up our phones on a Friday.  Verizon and Apple were out of the good cases so we went without one.  We also didn’t get insurance because Verizon is a rip-off. They charge $10 a month plus $150 deductible to replace a phone.  This means in two years you spend between $240 to $390 for piece of mind.

But then we learned Apple has a cheaper program.  For $99 they cover you on anything but loss or theft.  If you need to replace the phone they add on $79.  I went on Sunday to buy it for my wife.  Her last phone broke and the phone before that didn’t break but it once was dripped in the snow and stayed there for a week.

Two hours after I got the coverage, she dropped the phone on the street and shattered the screen.

She inspired me to get Apple’s insurance as well.

I can only hope the iPhone 6 was worth the hassle and cost.  I’m sure once we feel good about our purchase, the iPhone 7 or 8 will be out, demanding we take it home.

We probably will.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014


There are some moments that seemingly take place in slow motion, the kind that you not only never forget but that seem surreal as they unfold, frame by frame.  I had such a moment and want to share it with you.

The youth baseball team that I coach was battling in a baseball playoff game this past weekend.  As the Kansas City Royals battled the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, seeking bragging rights as the best team in the most prestigious professional baseball league on the planet, my son’s team the Hawks, was in the first round of his fall league’s post-season tourney.  There are nine teams in his division of nine- and ten-year-olds, and each one makes the playoffs.  We were seeded sixth for our record of two wins, four losses, and a tie (games have time limits).  We played the third-place 5-3 team.

They had a better record, but weren’t world-beaters. We weren’t favored by any means.

At stake was personal pride and neighborhood bragging rights.  When you win such a game you never forget it, and when you lose it, you quickly move on the way kids move from movie to iPad to pizza.  But when you are in the moment, it seems like the whole world is watching and the weight of life is on your tiny shoulders.

The kids each want to be the hero, or at the very least, avoid being the goat.  No one wants to kill a rally or make the final out.  No one wants to give up the game-winning hit or make a run-scoring error.  They want to win and have individual success, not only for their own sense of fulfillment but to please their parents who seek to relive, if not re-write, their own childhoods.

So here it is.  The game, a back and forth battle from beginning to end, was tied 7-7 going into the top of the final inning, the sixth.  With one out and no one on, we were facing the opposing team’s best pitcher, a fireballer.  This kid brought heat and an intimidating windup that rocked up and down, side to side, giving the batter a feeling of uncertainty as to where the ball will explosively leave the pitcher’s hand.

Up at the plate was one of our weaker hitters, batting 11th in the universal batting order, out of 11.  I’ve coached this kid for several seasons and see him improving incrementally but he looked overmatched here.  He was down in the count, one ball, two strikes.  It looked like we were a strike away from having two outs and little chance of scoring.  We’d have to go into the bottom of the inning without a lead, hoping at best for extra innings.  But the kid who’d pitch the extra inning would be my fifth best pitcher. Our chances didn't look good.

But then, a surprise moment happened, a turn of fortune.  The pitcher uncorked a wild fastball that landed on the left arm of the batter.  After he expelled some tears for absorbing a rocket ship in his body, he stood up to cheers and galloped to first base. We now had the potentially tying run on first base.

The next batter got out and the runner stole second base.  Two out, with a prayer for something good to happen.

Oscar was up.  He was the tallest kid on our team, maybe by a foot.  And he was the oldest as well.  This is who I wanted up.  We were getting to the heart of our line-up.

A few pitches into his at-bat, nothing felt like it was going to happen.  Then, suddenly, with a quick swing of the bat, I Saw the ball travel fast off of the bat and into the outfield.  In that split moment I saw a victory.  I saw the runner going towards third and in my hoarse voice I kept pace with his every stride, imploring him to run. Faster. Harder. There was a frenzied moment of seeing everything you hoped could happen suddenly unfolding in front of you.

Once the ball got past the outfielders, my attention was to Oscar who was turning third base and being waived in by my third base coach.  A throw was coming in from the distance and I yelled for Oscar to run… slide… safe! 

He took a good 10-15 seconds to lie face down in the dirt, exhausted, relieved, shocked.

We had a two-run lead and our best pitcher would close out the game.

Or so I thought.

That special moment when Oscar hit the go-ahead two-run homer was the one I’d want to take with me as I celebrated an amazing win.  But it was not to be.

The other team had their slow-motion moment awaiting a stage.

With two out in the bottom of the last inning, score now tied 9-9, their batter hit a slow-rolling ball down the third base line.  As my third baseman caught up with the ball, the runner from third was about to cross home plate, feeling the winds of victory beneath their steps.  He was lifted up by his celebrating teammates.

The thrill of victory was snatched from us, leaving us with the agony of defeat.

Will this game be a pivotal moment in the lives of anyone who participated or witnessed it?  Who’s to say – that will take years to determine, but I’m sure that we’ll not forget the moment when we felt like we won. The other team won’t forget what it was like to actually win.

How would I console our team after a tough loss and cheer my son up? Two boxes of Dunkin' Donut Munchkins cured that situation.

Kids seem like they can be passionate one moment and then move on to the next. I love their resiliency. But I also know that not everything is so easily forgotten. Everyone builds on their life's successes and defeats, at all levels, at all ages. Sometimes you can gain something from a loss and lose out on something when you win.

I played six seasons in Little League and have coached many seasons.  I remember the specifics of just a few games.  But I loved every minute I was on the field, as player or coach, because in each game there was a competitive spirit that came out.  Each game represented fun and excitement and a chance to be a winner. I can’t wait until next season.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hey Author, What Kind Of Salesperson Are You?

There are many ways to sell something, including books.  Usually, a key element is price, but many products and services are sold with price being a minor factor.  People buy because:

·         They really want or need what you have
·         Competition is low
·         Your offer is reasonable – and convenient
·         You have good timing, being in the right place at the right time
·         Trusted sources recommend you
·         You got many good reviews
·         They feel others will buy from you and don’t want to be left out

Books may be bought for any number of reasons but authors, publishers, and marketers should take note of how others sell their offerings:

Gyms – they use psychology to suck you in, telling you this is the time to take care of yourself and trying to convert momentary interest into a year-long commitment

Cars – they sell you on the "low" monthly payment and not the total cost they will get you when it comes to valuing your trade-in or on your financing deal

Cellphones  - You want the latest, fastest technology in your pocket and have been convinced you need it and are entitled to it

Vacations/Travel – You are sold on the idea you’ll see new things, be away from home and obligations , and catered to like a queen

Junk Food – they sell you something that makes you feel good but really isn’t good for you

Movies – instant escape and a guaranteed payoff in a nicely packaged time period

Music – instant, personalized, cheap, portable, fun.

Sporting events – be a part of the action, or even history; join fellow fans and feel alive, as if you’ll see something that TV can’t capture

Insurance – fear motivates this purchase

Clothing – this is sold based on making you feel and look better without having to do anything; people shop in hopes of transforming their inside from the outside.

Furniture – you feel like you did something substantial when you buy furniture; salesman convinces you it’ll last forever

Religion – join a church for community – and out of guilt!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Art Leads To Discussions of Truth, Even When We Hate It

Is there room in the creative arts world for a controversial subject to be featured?  Should theater, music or books give us a platform for hate?  Is art obligated to only feature what is the accepted truth?

These issues and others have been raised in light of a new opera at the Met in New York City’s Lincoln Center, The Death of Klinghoffer.  Some critics say the show glamorizes Palestinian terrorists and depicts Israeli Jews as greedy.  Others say the play attempts to rewrite historical events.

I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to (I hate the opera no matter the story), but I do know the issue is a hot one, putting intellectual expression and artistic curiosity against history and sensitive emotions.  But that’s what any art form should strive to do.

I support the opera’s decision to put the show on, but I also support protesters who want to seize control of the dialogue spurred by the show.  In the end, the truth or higher value should win out.  Everyone’s rights must be heard –

Consumers have a choice to buy a ticket and the right to not attend. Theaters and artists have a right to express their views and give us alternate viewpoints. Protesters have the right to encourage others to boycott the show and to speak out against perceived injustices.

But with these rights, come responsibilities and obligations.

Consumers who keep an open mind and see the show should then speak up on what they saw and how it made them feel. Theaters and artists should make every attempt to be fair, accurate, reasonable, and sensitive to the issues and impacted individuals. Protesters should only use legal, peaceful means to seek to get others to avoid the show.  They must also look not just to put down the show, but to explain, educate, and enlighten why they believe show has errors, wrong conclusions or insensitive depictions.

There’s no other way to do this.  We can’t censor the arts.  The best way to correct a wrong is to expose it and dialogue about it.

We should always look to find out what is true or not.  We should periodically re-evaluate our values.  We should also always be open to seeing how we can understand the other side.  The truth is, whether you support Jews or love America or hate ISIS like Ebola, we don’t fully understand those we label terrorists.  It doesn’t add up, so we simplify things and just make blanket statements like “All Muslims want us dead” or “All Arabs hate Jews.”  But such statements of convenience won’t solve our problems, won’t stop the violence, and won’t help us arbitrate the issues that separate us.

Could this show give merit or currency to another viewpoint?  If it does, maybe there’s actually something to it.   If it fails to move us, then it’s served the purpose to reaffirm what we already know or believe.  In either case, we all win.  We only lose when we shut out the voices, ideas, or opinions of others and dismiss them summarily.  We should welcome – not fear – debate. 

What we want to avoid are two things:
1.      Insulting a group and reawakening past feelings of hatred.
2.      For the art or subsequent debate to distort things to the point misinformation and misinterpretation circulate as fact.

Truth should always win out.  The facts must lead us to their inevitable conclusion.  Art can play an instrumental role in helping to initiate a public discourse.  Only lies and manipulation can spread or prosper if we let them.  Ignorance, apathy, or prejudice will die only where we are all discussing the same issue simultaneously.

Should we have a book or play that provides for the humanizing of things or people we may find atrocious?  Yes.  A novel that makes a child rapist seem loving or a song praising a serial killer or a movie claiming Christ was gay or a television show supporting racist jokes are all valuable in helping us create a public debate of issues that should get settled by the facts.  Fiction and fantasy are the tools we need to fortify the reality we determine to live in.

Plays. Operas. Concerts. Books. Movies. Dances. Paintings. All of art – in its many forms – should provoke, disrupt, question, and make us think, challenging our values, actions, and morality.  Art is not a court of law – it advocates for the discussion of ideas.  It is a piece of a much larger puzzle.

I lobby for these operas to exist – and I lobby for people to either see it and dismiss it – based on knowledge and experience or to not see it and play a role in the dialogue.  In fact, we need for all of this to happen, to balance the ecosystem of ideas and history.

In the end, the arts should challenge us and inspire us and get us talking.  In the end, we need to call out hate, evil, fear, and ignorance, and to educate the newest generation about the past so it doesn’t repeat it.

Talking about something, even if painful, is what we need.  Avoiding those things only quietly and passively invites ignorance and hate to flourish.  Give all ideas the light of day, and with scrutiny, the arts will help us see the truth.


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Authors: Here’s How To Make A Deal!

When I first started marketing the PR services of the firm that I work for, Media Connect (called PTA back then), one of my first clients helped me land another client through triangular trade.  It’s something I highly recommend for authors.

So here’s what I did: I was looking to work with Entrepreneur Press, which at the time published Entrepreneur magazine and had a book line as well.  The publisher proposed hiring us to do some work that we’d normally charge $15,000 to $20,000 for, promoting several books on big radio tours.  However, rather than pay us cash, they offered to provide us with several full and half-pages of ads in their magazine that normally would sell for double our fee.  I had never done anything like this before.  What will I do with these ads?

Before I declined, I queried some of my business author clients and it turned out one of them wanted to market his book, about living The American Dream, to entrepreneurs – the very targeted readership of this magazine.  He ended up paying us more than what Entrepreneur Press would have given us, but less than what their magazine would have charged him.  Everyone won.  That three-way deal is known as a triangular trade.

Getting a third party to help you close a deal can be quite helpful – and fun.  Bartering often gets you more value than using cash.  Why?  Because people value things differently but when people hear a dollar amount, they all want to get a discount or feel the number’s too high.  But if I say to my neighbor I’ll trade you my three-year-old lawnmower for your five-year-old snow blower it sounds like a fair trade. Who knows what each of us actually paid for those items?  The price back then is different than today’s and who knows if there was a special sale going on.

So how would this work in your world?

First, think about what you want or need.  Have an idea on what it costs.  Second, think about what you can trade – a service, your time, a thing, a favor – and grasp what it could be worth to others.  Third, find people to trade with.  If you can’t find a good trading partner, invite a third party in.  If you can give person A something to trade, he can give you something that you now can trade with person B.  And what you get from person A can now be enjoyed by yourself.

Authors typically want or need the following:
·         A way to sell books
·         Testimonials
·         Positive Reviews
·         Media Coverage
·         Advertising
·         Speaking Engagements

So how can you trade for these things?

Let’s talk about advertising.  Let’s say you want to advertise on a particular site and it costs $350.  Rather than pay it upfront and risk losing money if few or no sales come in, you suggest a partnership, where the site gets a % of all sales that come in.  Potentially, the site can earn more than $350 – or it can earn little to nothing.  It’s all about trading profits and risk.

Now, let’s say that offer is declined.  Your follow-up proposal could be to split the cost.  Pay $175 up front and for sales earned beyond that cost to you, profits are split based on agreed percentages.

Ok, let’s say they don’t agree to that either.  Here’s another option – pay them in books.  Your book, with the cover price of say $14.95, costs you $3 to produce. So you net $12 per book.  To get to $350, you’d need to sell about 30 copies – and earn a $10 profit – although due to shipping costs, you may have to sell more like 45 copies to break even.  So you tell the website you’ll give them 25 free copies (costs you $75 +shipping) and tell them they can resell them and keep the profits.  They let you advertise at no additional cost.  What do they do with the books?  They may have a way of selling them to people they know and are connected with.  They may trade them with someone else for something they value.  Or they could give them as a premium to people who sign on to their subscription site or who sign up for other products or services sold.

So you see,: there are ways to cut costs or reduce risks or combine offers.

In fact, in the scenario above, you could have traded your books with those of another author, if you feel you had a place to unload them on – or a means to sell them.

Another example of a triangle trade is to work with people who have sister companies or a network of connections.  The more people they know, the more likely you can find a deal in a three-way trade.

Now that the wheels are spinning in your brain, go out there and make a deal!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Is Your Book Newsworthy?

To promote your book to the news media, you need to issue press releases and pitches to the media that get their attention.  What can you do or say that sounds newsworthy?

The media loves what they believe their readers, listeners, or viewers are interested in.  Ask yourself:

How can I say something that appeals to the demographics, voice or style of that media outlet?

Is there a fresh spin I can put on an old idea?

Does my story have a seasonal, holiday, or anniversary tie-in?

Did I receive an award or major recognition?

Many topics can be newsworthy, though any of the following may or may not be strong enough to get the media’s attention:

1.      Announce a new product or service such as a book.

2.      Reveal interesting trends and insights.

3.       Make tie-ins to current events and things in the news.

4.      Share weird, strange or odd news.

5.      Release the findings of a new study, poll or research.

6.      Make a significant charitable contribution.

7.      Announce a major partnership with a business, organization, celebrity, or government agency.

8.      Offer free, useful and important information, such as a white paper.

9.      Celebrate a significant milestone.

10.  File or respond to a strange or important lawsuit.

11.  Expose a scam or reveal a secret.

12.  Host a major contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes.

13.  Make an outrageous claim, challenge, or demand.

14.  Make bold predictions.

15.  Sponsor an event.

16.  Announce a media appearance.

17.  Share an inspirational story of overcoming a major challenge.

18.  Host an event, seminar, or webinar.

19.  Announce a major hire or fire.

20.  Develop a new technology, product, service or procedure that helps people.

21.  Establish a scholarship.

22.  Receive endorsements from famous people.

23.  Speak at a conference or event.

24.  Debunk common myths or lies.

25.  Taking your company public.

26.  File for or be awarded a patent.

27.  Exhibiting at a trade show.

Are there certain things that tend to get the media’s attention?

·         Sex.
·         Money.
·         Politics.
·         Life.
·         Death.
·         Celebrities.
·         Sports.
·         Entertainment.

Tie your book into something the media cares about.  Play on emotions, such as fear (Ebola), beauty (images of attractive people), or anger (is it time to fire your abusive husband).  Choose your words carefully.  Say what you need to say in a way that makes a demand, or a command or a question or a discovery.  Whatever you do, don’t state the obvious, or be neutral or merely state facts.  Tell a story – and make it so interesting that they can’t refuse you.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Can You Read This? If So, Help!

When a child discovers the world of books, he or she has truly discovered the world.  Book-lovers, parents, educators, and literacy experts know the importance and pleasure of reading, and each time a child crosses the threshold from being read to, to being the reader, it’s as if a life has been saved.  For millions of people in the United States, literacy is still just a dream, and without achieving it, they are living a nightmare.  What can be done to give the gift of reading to others?

We probably first have to look at who is not reading and why.

Some are functionally illiterate and are elderly.  Some struggle with English as a second language.  Some are young school dropouts.

Whatever the reason, anyone without a neurological handicap can learn to read, even those with learning disorders.  How many more special instructors and how much money would it take to make a significant dent on the literacy problem?  I don’t know, but it seems like the resources should be put there.

Think of what happens for society when we convert an illiterate into a literate person:

1.      They become independent people who now can participate not just in life but in society, government, and public discourse. They can even become teachers themselves.

2.      They can perform higher job tasks, making them employable and more productive.

3.      They help society grow and evolve.  We’re only as smart as our dumbest people.

4.      They become happier, more fulfilled individuals who become contributors, rather than takers.

The book publishing industry, in particular, could benefit the most from having a bigger pool of readers and consumers.  So would print and online media outlets.

So who can or should help us solve this problem?

Certainly we need our government and schools to help resolve this problem, but they can’t do it alone.

We’ll need corporate sponsors, volunteer teachers, book donors, and others to help out, including book publishers and authors.

Could you be of assistance?  Yes.  Instead of ignoring or complaining about a problem, you can be part of the solution.

You can give your time.
You can give your ideas.
You can give your loving support.
You can give your books.
You can give your money.
You can give your advocacy on their behalf.

My daughter is nearing seven, in first grade.  I see her adding words to her vocabulary everyday and know that she’ll soon have that breakthrough moment, where she really can read on her own.  But for tens of millions of adults that breakthrough moment has not come.  Is it too late for them?  Not if you – we – can help it.

How about we make a social pact with one another and take an honest assessment of what we each have done this past year to further the cause of literacy in America.  If you’ve done something, do more.  If you’ve done nothing, begin doing something.  Do what’s easiest – donate books, give money to literacy groups, or ask how you can help.  Anything helps, everything counts.

Just think of how different your life would be without being able to read or enjoy books and the Internet! Imagine what worlds you can help open up for others whoa re in the shadows?  If we believe in educating our children, we should also support educating adults.  They were once children.

Look at what illiteracy contributes to:

According to, over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level.  Many kids who don’t read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

Only one in five eighth-graders say they read recreationally almost daily. But 53% of fourth graders do.  We lose our readers at a young age.

Perhaps, we should start with the areas that need the most help – says Long Beach, CA ranked as the most illiterate city in America, followed by Mesa, AZ and Aurora, CO. 

You may not realize how bad illiteracy is in this country, but it is a significant problem.  We’re still a nation that’s learning and growing.  The burden is on the educated to help the uneducated. 

One in three Americans have a college degree.  That means for every college graduate, two adults do not have a degree.  So it’s a big burden for the knowers to educate the uninformed, but it must be done if society is to function at a higher level.

To learn more about literacy and how to help, please consult these resources:

Read up on how to help those who can’t.

"If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten."
"The fundamental cause of trouble is that... the stupid are cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt."


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014